02/01/2014 World News Today


02/01/2014

The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.


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This is BBC World News Today. I'm Tim Willcox.

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A major blow for Iraq's security forces as militants linked to

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al-Qaeda take control of parts of two major cities. Iraqi special

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forces are battling militants in Fallujah and Ramadi who've seized

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police stations, freed prisoners and set up checkpoints.

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The first of the helicopters to take us home! Rescued at last after a

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Christmas on ice. 52 people are airlifted from their ship, which has

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been stuck in the Antarctic for a week.

:00:39.:00:40.

Also coming up: Celebrity chef Nigella Lawson speaks out about the

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fraud trial of her assistants, in which she was accused of regularly

:00:44.:00:45.

using cocaine. To have not only your private life

:00:46.:00:55.

but distortions of it put on display is mortifying.

:00:56.:00:58.

And forget about the Great Wall. China now boasts an engineering feat

:00:59.:01:02.

fit for the 21st century. We go for a ride.

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Hello and welcome. Iraqi special forces have launched a major

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operation to try and reclaim two cities which have come under the

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control of militants linked to al-Qaeda. The Islamic State of Iraq

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and the Levant - SIL - have reportedly captured several police

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stations in Fallujah and Ramadi, both in Anbar province, taken

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weapons, freed prisoners and set up checkpoints. It comes as the United

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Nations claimed 2013 was the deadliest year in Iraq since 2008,

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with more than 7,800 civilians and 1,000 members of the security forces

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killed in violence there. Rafid Jaboori reports.

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It is the first time since the withdrawal of the US forces that the

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Iraqi government has lost control of two major cities. Significant parts

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of Ramadi and Fallujah in Anbar province have fallen to the militant

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fighters of Al-Qaeda, but the government is fighting to reading

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them. Tension has been high since last week in the heartland of

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Iraq's Sunni majority -- minority. On Monday, protest camp in Ramadi

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was dismantled. The Sonys have been protesting against the Shia

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government for months. But the government has now secured

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significant backing from Sunni tribal leaders. Last year was the

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most violent year in Iraq since 2008, with thousands killed and

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injured, mainly in attacks on Shia areas and security forces by

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Al-Qaeda. With the support of tribal leaders, the government might be

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able to regain control of Anbar, but the long-running problems in the

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Sunni areas will need more comprehensive political deals.

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In another sign of instability in the country, a suicide bomber has

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killed at least 12 people and injured more than 75 at a market 70

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kilometres north-east of Baghdad. Brad Blakeman is Professor of

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Politics and International Affairs at Georgetown University in

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Washington. He was also a member of President George W Bush's senior

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staff from 2001 to 2004. Thank you for joining us on the programme.

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America has sent 75 missiles and is talking about sending some Eagle

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surveillance drones as well. Should it be doing more, given what is

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happening in Iraq? Well, President Obama has made it clear that he is

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not going to do more, and it is up to the international community now

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to step up. We will help the best we can, but it is up to the Iraqis now

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to stand up for themselves, and if they can't do it after all the

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opportunity that the United States and Britain and other countries have

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given to them, then they need to meet their own fate. So specifically

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with the United States, do you agree with President Obama's stance? The

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missiles and drones are some things, but what about more help in terms of

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surveillance and into full -- infiltration. We should make sure

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that the allies do not get a foothold in Iraq that they seem to

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be getting in some of these areas in Fallujah and Ramadi. So it is in our

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allies' interest to make sure that this doesn't happen and help them to

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be self-sufficient enough to get the job done so that our allies will not

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have to go in and augment that with troops or other support. What about

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the sectarian split? Do think international pressure should be put

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on them to make the Sunnis more represented within Iraq? There are

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internal and external factors, a lack of representation in Iraq, and

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externally, the war in Syria. And that is where the UN could be of

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great value, to bring reconciliation to factions that have broken off. It

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is incumbent on the UN under its charter to do that, which they are

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charged to do, which is to go in and bring the parties together, and get

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the current government to acknowledge that things must change

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in Iraq, there must be not only an acknowledgement, but policies must

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change in order for them to bring stability and peace within their own

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borders. What about the role of Iran and Saudi Arabia here as well. What

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sort of international leveraged can be put on them, especially given the

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apparent rapprochement between the United States and Iran? There is no

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question about it that outside forces are instigating a lot of the

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violence within Iraq, and that has got to stop. We have to secure as

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best we can and help them with their borders, and bring pressure up on

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outside nations who are causing a lot of the mischief within Iraq, and

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unfortunately, we have taken our foot off the sanctions, which are

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starting to be of great significance in Iran. And I think our president

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has been making a great misstep in taking his foot off some of the

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sanctions, because it is not in the interests of the region, and it may

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not even be in our interests that it was done. This has led to the deaths

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of more than 8000 civilians. I wonder if there is any moral

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necessity for America to take part in this, and how optimistic are you

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that this will ever be resolved? We have had the threat of civil war so

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many times before. Well, let's take a look in America's history. When we

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declared independence, it took was 11 years to get our act ever, and

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within 100 years of our independence, we had a civil war,

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600,000 Americans dead, brother against brother. You cannot will

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civility, it has to be earned. But only if it is going to mean

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something and it will be the lubricant well thought out, and just

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to do something to say that we did something is not enough. We have to

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have results if we are going to do anything. Thank you very much indeed

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for joining us on the programme. Sectarian violence has also flared

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up again in Lebanon. Tensions heightened between Sunnis and Shias

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because of the war in neighbouring Syria. In the last few hours, at

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least six people have been killed in a car bomb attack in a southern

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suburb of Beirut, a stronghold of the Shia militant group Hezbollah.

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It comes just days after a Sunni and a critic of Hezbollah was killed by

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a car bomb. Our correspondent Corine Torbey is at the scene and we'll get

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the latest from her in just a few minutes.

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Now to the crisis in South Sudan, where fierce fighting continues even

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as efforts to end the violence get under way. Delegations from the

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warring factions led by President Salva Kiir and his former deputy

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Riek Machar are meeting for peace talks in the Ethiopian capital,

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Addis Ababa. Aid agencies say many civilians inside South Sudan are in

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desperate need of help and shelter. They estimate up to 75,000 people

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have gathered on the banks of the Nile looking for help, after

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crossing by boat from the town of Bor. Our correspondent Alastair

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Leithead is at the camp. We don't know exactly how many

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people have made the trip across the Nile river that is just behind me

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here, but it is more than 75,000 people. That is like a sports

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stadium full of people suddenly arriving here, and this is where

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they are ending up. They are coming here and just sitting under the

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trees. This is the only shelter they have got. And this goes all the way

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down this bank of the Nile, all the way in for a couple of miles into

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that area, huge numbers of people. And they have nothing. They grabbed

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what they could, came here without much food. And the water isn't

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clean. These guys here with these buckets on their head, that is water

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collected from the Nile, dirty, bad water. On this side, we have a

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clinic that has been set up by Medecins Sans Frontieres, two small

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clinics with a handful of staff, and they have been trying to deal with

:10:00.:10:01.

increasing numbers of people coming in with really bad diarrhoea, among

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the many children, and we have heard of babies who have died of diarrhoea

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because there are no facilities here. In the background here, you

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can make out the first signs of aid coming in. This is truck loads of

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food, the committee internationally of the Red Cross have come in and

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brought food and supplies, and they are trying to do this in an

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organised way. You can see the queues of people waiting, organised

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by which area they are from to try to make sure that this is given out

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fairly to those people who need it most, but more needs to come. It is

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a five-hour drive of a bad roads to reach this area, and the UN is

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already aware of the situation. It is a humanitarian crisis. The

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fighting is continuing across the river. There are people over there

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who can no longer come over on boats because it is too dangerous for

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them. Even to get here where there is nothing is better than being in a

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town held by the anti-government forces, and there is a serious risk

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of more intense fighting breaking out in the days ahead.

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He's been in a coma and vegetative state since 2006, but doctors in

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Israel say the condition of former Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon has

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worsened in the past 48 hours. Doctors say his organs are failing

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and his life is in danger. From Jerusalem, Kevin Connolly reports.

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At the medical centre near Tel Aviv, Israel waits anxiously for a medical

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bulletin on the health of the former Prime Minister, who has been in a

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coma for eight years. When the news comes, it is not good.

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TRANSLATION: Mr Ariel Sharon shows some signs of deterioration in the

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following two days, with some critical miss function, malfunction

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of some of his organs, including his kidneys. He is under treatment, but

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we feel that the situation is critical, and some danger is

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expected for his life. Ariel Sharon's life may be slipping

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away now, but in his heyday, they called him the bulldozer. The

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forceful soldier and politician saw himself as an uncompromising

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defender of his country's interests, in war and in peace. We remember his

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contributions, sacrifices he made to ensure the survival and the

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well-being of Israel, and I have many personal thoughts about my

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meetings with him, on many different occasions. Always robust and strong

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and clear about his position. His name may be for ever associated

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with the massacre inside Palestinian refugee camps, carried out by

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Christian militia in Lebanon during Israel's invasion of 1982, but Ariel

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Sharon's life story was bound up with a history of his country from

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the moment of its birth. He fought in the war of independence in 1948.

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Israel's enemies hated Ariel Sharon, but people will remember him

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as someone whose career dated back to the very foundation of their

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state. Now they wait with concern as his fate again hangs in the balance.

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Much attention is also focused on the hospital in France, where former

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seven-time Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher is still

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being treated for head injuries following a skiing accident on

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Sunday. He's been in a critical condition after falling and hitting

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his head on a rock. He received a visit on Thursday from the head of

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the FIA, Jean Todt, who was also his boss during his time at Ferrari.

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It's Schumacher's 45th birthday on Friday.

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Let's get more now from Lebanon, where a bomb has exploded in a

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southern suburb of Beirut, killing at least six people. It was very

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close to the Central office of Hezbollah. We can go to the scene

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now and speak to the BBC's Corine Torbey. This is likely to stoke

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sectarian tensions there even more, isn't it? Yes, a lot of tension,

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especially as this is not the first attack in this area, but also within

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Lebanon an last Friday, a former finance minister was also

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assassinated, and the security situation is believed to be

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deteriorating by the day in this country. In terms of the group

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behind it, this is seen as tit-for-tat, is it? As the sectarian

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nature of the Civil War in serious bills over the border? Well, there

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is a wide belief that what is happening in Lebanon is very much

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linked to the situation in Syria. What happened today, many people

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think that it is a deterioration for Hezbollah's role in Syria, and its

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involvement in some of the troops in the Shia party alongside government

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forces in Syria. Lebanon has also its own problems, and it is a very

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congregated situation, and it is very hard to understand what is

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happening. -- a complicated situation. People are trying to make

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sense of all of this violence that is taking hold of the country. Not

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helped by the fact that Lebanon has been paralysed politically. This is

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a very divided country, not only along political lines, but on

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sectarian lines. Lebanon has been without Government for around nine

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months. Political parties are unable to come together. There are real

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fears that amid all of this in security, and made all of this

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division, the situation might go further and further. Thank you.

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Let's bring you some breaking news. About the killing of a Briton and a

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New Zealander, both gunshot wounds, in western Libya, that is according

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to a security source on writers news agency. The body was found on the

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coastal area. It is about 100 kilometres west of Tripoli. At ACAS

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Park complex. -- at ACAS complex. Police in South Africa have begun a

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murder investigation into the death of a leading role and an opposition

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figure Patrick Karegeya whose body was found in a hotel room. They said

:16:56.:17:00.

that he may have been strangled. The former intelligence chief Fred

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Rwanda after he was accused of plotting against his former ally

:17:06.:17:08.

President Paul Kagame -- President Paul Kagame.

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In the upmarket district, Patrick Karegeya came to this hotel on

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Wednesday to meet a man from Rwanda whom he said to have trusted.

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Yesterday, he was found dead in one of the hotel rooms. The police have

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launched a murder inquiry. When the police were called, police were

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given the possibility that he might have been strangled and a bloody

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Tower was found on the scene. Patrick Karegeya fought against Paul

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Kagame with the random picture that front. After the 1994 genocide, he

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was Rwanda's external intelligence chief. He fell out with...

:17:58.:18:05.

In 2007, he went into axe out in South Africa, where he was granted

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political asylum. Together with a former army chief he formed a new

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opposition party, The Rwanda And National Congress. Undoubtedly an

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assassination. Patrick Karegeya did not have any problems with people in

:18:31.:18:38.

South Africa. He didn't have any differences within the organisation.

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We also know... This week's Kelling has thrown the spotlight on the

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Rwanda and axe Isles who had in the past been warned of attacks on them.

:18:57.:19:03.

The government continues to deny trying to kill its political

:19:04.:19:08.

opponents. All 52 passengers on board a Russian

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ship that has been stuck in the Antarctic have finally been rescued.

:19:13.:19:16.

The research vessel became trapped in the ice on Christmas eve during a

:19:17.:19:20.

fierce storm. Ice breakers made attempts to reach the strip ship,

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but were awarded. Helicopters were used to carry passengers to a rescue

:19:30.:19:38.

ship. Look at that. What a handsome craft

:19:39.:19:42.

that is. It was the site that everyone had

:19:43.:19:47.

been waiting for, the first rescue helicopter descending onto the same

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eyes that had kept me and all on board the ship, the Akademik

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Shokalskiy, stranded for over a week.

:19:55.:19:59.

Previous attempts to bring about the rescue of the scientists and

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tourists on board had been aborted due to poor weather. Finally, the

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skies were clear. The first of their helicopters to take us home

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passengers were taken to an Australian icebreaker. The rescue

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operation lasted several hours. I was one of those who made this

:20:22.:20:27.

journey. You were watching the last group of people that you have been

:20:28.:20:32.

ferried from the Russian vessel through about a 15 minute wait

:20:33.:20:38.

knuckle ride helicopter ride to just outside the Australian icebreaker.

:20:39.:20:44.

Scientists on board the Akademik Shokalskiy had been recreating the

:20:45.:20:49.

journey of Douglas Mawson and his 1911 voyage to Antarctica. On

:20:50.:20:54.

Christmas Eve, thick flows of ice judge and by strong winds had left

:20:55.:21:01.

the vessel unable to move further. Singing auld lang syne, expedition

:21:02.:21:06.

members celebrated New Year by working towards their own rescue.

:21:07.:21:16.

We're getting the team to stamp down on this snow and ice so the Chinese

:21:17.:21:21.

helicopter can reach us. Finally, the rescue could go ahead.

:21:22.:21:26.

The Aurora Australis is now breaking through the ice. The eventual

:21:27.:21:31.

destination, the Australian state of Tasmania.

:21:32.:21:36.

For the crew of the Akademik Shokalskiy, the weight remains. They

:21:37.:21:41.

will have to hold out until the ice surrounding the ship breaks out.

:21:42.:21:43.

That could be many more weeks. Pakistan's former president has been

:21:44.:21:56.

taken to hospital with heart problems. He was due to appear in

:21:57.:22:04.

court with treason charges when he reportedly fell ill. A spokesman

:22:05.:22:07.

said he is conscious and is being examined by military doctors.

:22:08.:22:12.

Japan's Coast Guard has rescued a Chinese man who tried to reach a

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bunch of disputed islands by hot air Berlin. The islands are known by

:22:18.:22:22.

Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China and are administered by Tokyo.

:22:23.:22:32.

Nigella Lawson has said it was mortifying to have details of her

:22:33.:22:36.

personal life and drug-taking revealed in court. Speaking in her

:22:37.:22:40.

first interview since her assistants were cleared of

:22:41.:22:43.

defrauding her and her former husband Charles Saatchi of hundreds

:22:44.:22:47.

of thousands of dollars, she told a US TV station that her only desire

:22:48.:22:51.

in the court case was to protect her children.

:22:52.:22:58.

We know you have had quite a year. The reason Nigella Lawson was on

:22:59.:23:02.

this show was to talk about her cookery programme. One topic could

:23:03.:23:06.

not be avoided. Her recent experience on the witness stand at

:23:07.:23:11.

the trial of her two assistants To have not only your private life, but

:23:12.:23:19.

distortions of it, is mortifying. There are people going through an

:23:20.:23:23.

awful lot worse and to dwell on it or on any of it would be self-pity

:23:24.:23:30.

and I don't like to do that. In that court appearance, she had been

:23:31.:23:34.

accused of being a regular user of cocaine. She denies this. The

:23:35.:23:38.

intense interest in her life had begun before the trial. These photos

:23:39.:23:42.

of her and her now former husband Charles Saatchi appeared. Over the

:23:43.:23:48.

months, her private life has become very public. That appearance in

:23:49.:23:53.

court was bruising. She said, her reputation had been maliciously

:23:54.:23:57.

vilified. Today, she reappeared more

:23:58.:24:00.

reflective than angry, but still wounded by the experience. You are

:24:01.:24:05.

Mack were only desire really was to protect my children. I can always do

:24:06.:24:11.

that, but that is what I wanted to do. -- could not. Since then, I have

:24:12.:24:17.

details of chocolate and had a good Christmas and iron into the New

:24:18.:24:24.

Year. Time to move on. -- I am. Our feelings about the way she had been

:24:25.:24:30.

treated in court were clear. -- her feelings.

:24:31.:24:34.

The city of Shanghai claims to have set a new milestone, two new Metro

:24:35.:24:37.

lines which opened this week will take its total length to more than

:24:38.:24:42.

500 kilometres. The city has been laying new track at a pace faster

:24:43.:24:46.

than anywhere else in history. But it is not the only Chinese city in

:24:47.:24:52.

the grip of a tabloid frenzy. -- tunnelling.

:24:53.:24:57.

It is hard to believe that the Shanghai Metro system is barely 20

:24:58.:25:02.

years old. The pace of expansion has been

:25:03.:25:07.

breathtaking. It is now the world's longest subway

:25:08.:25:13.

network. With the opening of lines 12 and 16 this week, the first to

:25:14.:25:20.

stretch over 500 kilometres. TRANSLATION: I used to take the bus.

:25:21.:25:29.

That took ages. This is great. It saves me 30 minutes on my normal

:25:30.:25:35.

journey. I am really happy. As of this week, Shanghai has 567

:25:36.:25:42.

kilometres of operational track, leaving London languishing with 400

:25:43.:25:47.

and New York even further behind with just 330: Matters. In the game

:25:48.:25:52.

of my Metro is bigger than yours, China looks likely to remain the

:25:53.:26:00.

champion. The Beijing Metro is now the world's second longest. 16

:26:01.:26:06.

cities already have subway systems and at least 18 more have begun

:26:07.:26:10.

construction. If nothing else, it is a sign that there is little letup in

:26:11.:26:15.

big government spending, despite the talk of having to rebalance the

:26:16.:26:21.

economy. This week, Shanghai announced a ban on passengers eating

:26:22.:26:25.

on board, but the appetite for growth is undiminished. In the next

:26:26.:26:30.

few years, another 230 kilometres will be added, more than the total

:26:31.:26:32.

length of the Paris Metro. It goes on and on. But is it from

:26:33.:26:43.

us. The weather is coming up. Goodbye.

:26:44.:26:56.

After a brief lull, things are going downhill again very quickly with

:26:57.:27:02.

more wind and rain over the next few days and we can expect more of the

:27:03.:27:06.

same with an ongoing likelihood of flooding. This is the situation

:27:07.:27:09.

right now. This set

:27:10.:27:10.

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